The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Ninewells Hospital has achieved Unicef Baby Friendly accreditation.
Baby Friendly accreditation is based on a set of standards for maternity, health visiting, neonatal and children’s centres services. They are designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support their health and development.
NICU has been implementing the standards and working towards achieving accreditation for stage 1 and stage 2 over the last two years.
Stage 1 involves having a firm foundation with written policies, guidance and best practice. Stage 2 requires services to have an educated workforce who will embed the policies and guidance. The unit is now working towards achieving stage 3, which centres on parents’ experiences.
Senior charge nurse/midwife Alison Findlay said, “Staff in the neonatal unit have tremendous pride in their work and their engagement and enthusiasm is something I am very proud of. Having this award recognises their commitment and dedication to the babies and parents in their care. It also brings confidence and boosts their morale whilst providing them with the knowledge and skills to support best practice for babies and parents in NICU.
“We are extremely proud of the neonatal team who all contributed and participated in achieving this milestone on our way to becoming fully accredited for Unicef Baby Friendly Neonatal Standards.
“This has been a huge undertaking and I am very grateful to our infant feeding advisors from maternity services and NHS Tayside’s infant nutrition coordinator, as well as one of our neonatal midwives, Julie Parker, for their hard work and support throughout our Baby Friendly journey. The feedback from Unicef assessors was extremely positive in regards to the demeanour and passion of the staff for their work.
“We are excited and very much looking forward to progressing to stage 3 which we hope to apply for in the coming months.”
Enhanced education and training for all staff, medical and nursing/midwifery, was undertaken to achieve the accreditation with the emphasis on:
Infant feeding, particularly the value of breast milk and supporting mums with their choice and methods of feeding
Recognising and investing in building close and loving relationships between the baby and their parents and carers
Valuing parents as partners in the care of their baby which required changing the culture and environment in the neonatal unit